Waltrip, Lindley And Other Giants Give All-American 400 A Rich History

The late Butch Lindley is considered one of the greatest short-track racers in the history of the sport, and he earned that reputation by winning such races as the All-American 400.

Lindley, whose skyrocketing career was tragically cut short by a crash on April 13, 1985 at DeSota Speedway in Bradenton, Fla., captured the inaugural All-American 400 in 1981.

He triumphed that day by holding off such racing notables as the irrepressible Dick Trickle and a promising young tiger named Mark Martin.

Since then, drivers who have hoisted the All-American trophy in Victory Circle include three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip, fellow champion Rusty Wallace, Clarksville?s Jeff Purvis, Mike Garvey, Freddie Query and Gary St. Amant.

Last year?s winner was Boris Jurkovic, who held off Jake Ryan for the victory. Local favorite Mark Day of Clarksville, one of the track?s top Late Model drivers, finished 34th.

?This race has a great tradition and history,? says Music City Motorplex president Joe Mattioli, ?and we intend for it to continue.?

Mattioli has christened the Nov. 2-4 race the Adam Petty Memorial All-American 400, in tribute to the popular young driver who lost his life in a May 2000 crash at New Hampshire Speedway.

The race will promote the Petty family?s Victory Junction Gang Camp for youngsters with life-threatening ailments.

?The Petty name is synonymous with stock car racing and good works,? Mattioli said. ?This is a perfect, meaningful fit.?

The race was the brain-child of racing promoters Bob Harmon and Rex Robbins. Their plan was to match some of the top short-track racers from the North and South in a special late-season showdown. They billed it as ?the Civil War of racing.? It later became nationally-known as ?the Super Bowl of Short-Track Racing.?

?The All-American 400 has always been a great race,? says Waltrip, who honed his skills on the Motorplex?s five-eights-mile track in the late 1960?s and ?70?s and went on to claim three NASCAR Cup titles and 84 victories.

Waltrip, now a commentator for Fox Sports racing telecasts, is listed among the greatest racers in history, and he has never forgotten where it all began. Regular rugged Saturday-battles, coupled with special star-power events such as the All-American 400, provided a perfect training ground for his future foray into NASCAR?s big leagues.

?Some of the best drivers in the business showed up for that race,? says Waltrip. ?Of course, since it was on my home track, it was extra-special for me. I always knew I?d have a lot fans ? and a few non-fans ? on hand.?

Purvis, whose promising career was ended by injury, holds the record for most All-American 400 victories, with three. His triumphs came in 1991, 1992 and 1995.

?I always looked forward to running in Nashville,? says Purvis, whose full-time career was ended by a devastating Busch Series crash at few years ago at Nazareth, Pa.

Purvis, who still runs an occasional dirt-track feature, adds:

?We had some terrific races, with great fields of drivers. Back then the All-American 400 was almost like running a Cup race. If you won that race, you knew you?d really done something. You?d beaten some of the best drivers in racing.?

?This race has a tremendous history and tradition,? Mattioli said. ?We want to see it continued far into the future.?

For a detailed All-American 400 schedule or ticket information call (615) 726-1818 or visit

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